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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Master Recycler Composter Program

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 •

Master Recycler Compost Logo

What is the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Program?

The Master Recycler Composters of Thurston County is a county-based volunteer service program managed through the WSU Thurston County Extension office in Olympia. Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteers are trained on how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to prevent waste, recycle and compost in Thurston County.

MRC volunteers serve with local organizations, community members, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or at special events encouraging waste prevention, recycling, and composting. On-going continuing education opportunities are provided to all MRC volunteers to stay up to date on the ever-changing landscape of recycling regulations, waste reduction techniques, and composting science.

In order to serve in their capacity as MRC volunteer in the community, they must first complete the MRC volunteer training where they receive the in-depth knowledge necessary to be successful. See the MRC Volunteer Training section below for more information about the annual MRC volunteer training.

MRC Activities for our Thurston County community

MRC Program Services and Online Resources

Information for Current MRC Volunteers

Click here to go to TOSS

Thurston County MRC Volunteer Training

Do you have a passion for recycling, composting, and waste reduction and want to serve your community? If yes, then consider becoming a Thurston County Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteer.

All MRC volunteers go through the MRC volunteer training process to help prepare them for their role as volunteers. Upon completion of the training, trainees agree to give 25 hours of yearly service to put their knowledge to use in our community and to maintain volunteer certification. This includes 5 hours of continuing education and 20 hours of volunteer activities.

Training topics include waste prevention, recycling processes and markets, home (yard and worm) composting, wasting less food, repurposing items, greener buying choices, community outreach, youth programming, plus so much more.  The training focuses Thurston County and Washington state specific information regarding solid waste management practices, recycling processes, etc.

The MRC Volunteer Training is taught by Thurston County Solid Waste educators, WSU Extension staff, and regional experts.  We anticipate our next MRC volunteer training will be offered in September 2021.

To add your name to the interest list for our next MRC volunteer training, please email the Program Coordinator, Cori Carlton at  Those on the interest list will be notified via email when the training information is posted.

If you are interested in learning about our other programs/services, then consider joining our listserv. Subscribers will receive a quarterly newsletter with announcements for upcoming events and activities hosted by the WSU Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Programs of Thurston County. Your contact information will not be shared, and you can unsubscribe yourself at any time.  Subscribe to our email listserv:

MRC Volunteer Yearly Service Commitments:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the MRC volunteer service requirements for 2021 will only include 5 hours of continuing education. Volunteers are not required to give 20 hours for “your choice” volunteer activities in 2021, although volunteer opportunities will be provided if COVID restrictions allow. We anticipate the typical volunteer service requirements will resume in 2022.

Typical annual volunteer service requirements:

Master Recycler Composters will be asked to give a minimum of 25 service hours per year

  • 20 hours of “your choice” volunteer activities.
  • 5 hours of Continuing Education (CE) hours.

20 hours of service can be earned in one or more of numerous Master Recycler Composter program areas.

This could include:

  • Community outreach booth opportunities
  • Events
  • Workshops
  • Waste Less Food projects
  • Demonstration garden composting
  • Re-purposing projects
  • Special projects
  • Children’s programming
  • Individual interest projects

The 5 continuing education (CE) hours can be earned by: (only a sampling of potential activities)

  • Attend educational offerings sponsored by our program. Field trips to Silver Springs, Material Recycling Facilities, etc.
  • Attend other waste reduction related learning opportunities/festivals within the community and region.
  • Read current waste reduction books. (Recycling, composting, reducing your carbon footprint etc.)
  • Watch current waste reduction movies. (Check out movies from the Thurston County Solid Waste lending library.)

ACTIVE members will be asked to record all service hours volunteered on a monthly basis via an  on-line system.

ACTIVE members will be asked to complete and return a Master Recycler Composter Recommitment form on a yearly basis.

Every other year ACTIVE members will be subject to a Washington state background check.  This is done to protect the public in which we serve as well as the other Master Recycler Composter team members.

WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Persons will disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation need to contact Cori Carlton at 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia WA 98503, 360-867-2162, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of training.